State Dept.: Terrorist group affects travel to Malaysia

WASHINGTON -- Attacks and kidnappings by the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf terrorist group have repercussions for travelers to Malaysia, according to the State Department.

The department said Abu Sayyaf gunmen stormed a Malaysian diving resort on the island of Pandanan, seizing three Malaysian hostages, on Sept. 11.

U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to the areas around Semporna and Tawau on the Sabah mainland and to the islands off southeastern Sabah, including Sipadan and Pandanan, it said.

Separately, in a public announcement on Indonesia, the department advised U.S. citizens to avoid travel to West Timor, the Moluccas and Aceh.

Travelers to Indonesia were advised to exercise caution in East Timor and the regions nearest to the Philippines in northern Kalimantan and Sulawesi, as well as the resort island of Lombok about 25 miles from Bali.

The Indonesian government has restricted travel by foreign government officials to Aceh, Papua and Maluku.

Violent demonstrations flared up briefly in Bali last October, but conditions quickly returned to normal, the department said.

The State Department also renewed a travel warning against Angola "because of continued military conflict in interior provinces and increased violent criminal activity" including kidnapping threats against foreigners.

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